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Brisbane to Sydney

Brisbane to Sydney
Home > Diaries > 2022 > 1016


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Brisbane - Sydney




0 - 8600m ASL


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AN EARLY start saw me arriving at the Brisbane Domestic Airport a little before sunrise to catch a flight down to Sydney. I'd not been here in the domestic terminal since early 2019 upon my return from Easter Island (the last leg of the trip was from Sydney to Brisbane). Today also marked the first flight since late 2019 so I was definitely out of routine.

Fortunately the early morning start made the check in and security process very straight forward leaving a bit of time waiting in the departure area. The time passed quickly and before I knew it I was on board with a window seat on my way down to Sydney - a short flight of around an hour and a half.

Flying out of Brisbane, I had a great view of the silhouette of the Gold Coast strip against the reflection of the morning sun over the Tasman Sea. Shortly afterwards we flew over a bank of thick cloud covering the mountains of the Tweed Volcano, and this cloud cover would continue for much of the trip down the coast. At one point over the Hunter Valley the plane needed to do a full circle to delay our arrival due to airport congestion. Once we had completed the circle, we began the descent through the clouds, coming out of them in time to cross above Sydney harbour with a spectacular view of the city before landing at the airport.

Once I collected my backpack, I walked through the corridors to the train station and caught a train to Town Hall Station in the city centre. Heading out of the chaotic metro system, I reached George Street which is now a mall with no traffic apart from new trams. One I got my bearings, I headed to the corner of Liverpool Street where I found the capsule hostel where I will be staying for the next two weeks. It was only 10:00 and check in wasn't until 14:00 but they let me store my pack there whilst I explore the city.

Free of my (not so) heavy backpack, I started walking along George Street heading towards Circular Cay about two kilometres away. The city centre was chaotic full of people, but it wasn't too crowded as to slow progress. At some point I left George Street and headed across to Pitt Street continuing towards Circular Cay. Most of the buildings were quite old and would have been here when I explored the city in the past, but there were a lot of new buildings making the city almost unrecognisable compared to the city I had briefly lived in back in 1997 when I first moved over here from New Zealand.

I did eventually reach Circular Cay. The railway, the ferry wharves and buildings, the harbour bridge and opera house were all still standing and clearly memorable. Everything else here had changed. The towering skyscrapers I had remembered here in 1997 had mostly been replaced with new taller buildings, some of unusual shapes. Most of the new buildings seemed to be residential apartments, no doubt very expensive.

Turning right I followed the path in front of the ferry buildings until it turned towards the opera house. I continued following the path, with numerous markers showing where the coastline was back in 1788 when Sydney Cove was settled by the first British fleet. Across the harbour stood the impressive harbour bridge. A huge cruise ship was berthed on the other side of the bay.

I reached the opera house and explored it - the inside was being renovated so tours were limited, but I had a lot of time exploring it anyway, going all around it and looking at every imaginable angle. After exploring the opera house I returned to Circular Cay for lunch.

After resting at Circular Cay, I headed into the train station and with a bit of time before checking in, I headed to St James Station to have a look at all the historical displays of the contruction of the underground train system. After exploring it I caught another train up to Central Station which I also explored, having been significantly upgraded over the years, but the grand concourse was still the same as it had been for many years. I explored the area around the station before catching another train back to Town Hall Station and checked into the capsule hostel.

I have stayed in a capsule hostel before - just one night at Christchurch Airport before coming home, allowing me to see the Antarctic Museum in the morning before flying home. With Sydney being such an expensive city to stay, I decided the best solution for a two week stay would be here in a capsule hostel in the city centre. From this very central location I can easily get anywhere in the city. I had only booked the flights and the capsule. Nothing else had been booked as yet. I had some definite plans with hiking as much of Sydney's coastline as possible, and explore some of my old haunts from when I lived in in 1997. I have decided to play this one by ear depending on the weather. It can sometimes get very hot here, and sometimes the storms here are very severe.

Once I had settled into the capsule hostel - with a good sized private capsule bed and a good sized lockable cupboard giving more than enough room to store everything - I headed out walking the five minutes to the train station and heading back to Circular Cay. I had no plans at all but decided to catch a ferry up the harbour to Parramatta, Sydney's second CBD at the geographic centre of the city.

The hourly boat took off from Circular Cay, initially heading into the massively redeveloped Darling Harbour at Milson's Point before starting to head up the harbour. It made numerous stops on both sides of the harbour and even stopping at a couple of islands. The harbour gradually narrowed as we sped upstream. We passed the Sydney Olympic Park marking the start of numerous bridges we crossed under. The houses lining either side of the harbour gave way to mangroves as the width narrowed to little more than a river. Eventually we reached Parramatta, with its very tall buildings (several under construction). The boat turned around just short of a concrete barrier crossing the river marking the tidal limit of the harbour, and I climbed off to explore the city centre.

After exploring the town centre, I headed to the nearby train station to catch a train back into the city centre to have dinner and an early night anticipating an early start for my first day of hiking tomorrow morning.


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